Esther says seeing World Vision support projects in Ethiopia gave her hope for the future of children like Burtukan.
I’m sitting in the World Vision office, hours before I fly out to Ethiopia and what is going to be the most amazing two weeks of my life.
But before I leave, I have one last thing to do – check my university offers.
With the other Youth Ambassadors sitting nearby, I log onto a computer, search for my name, and wait nervously as the page loads.
Did I? Didn’t I?
Finally the page is there, there is my name, and next to it….wow.
When I was 15, I read an autobiography. It was called Hospital by the River and it was written by Dr Catherine Hamlin, one of the most amazing people on this planet. She had started a hospital for women in Ethiopia who had developed fistula injuries during childbirth.
She absolutely inspired me and was the reason that my first preference for my university offers was to study medicine.
And the impossible had just happened. I had received a place to study medicine!
I still can’t believe it.
Over my two weeks in Ethiopia, I realised not only how lucky I was to have made it to university to study medicine, but also just how lucky I am to live in a place where I have access to healthcare.
When I met bubbly 7-year-old Burtukan and her family, I found out that she had a health problem where she sometimes bled from her ear. Her mum worried about what she could do for her, but the health clinic was far away and they probably couldn’t afford the medication Burtukan needed anyway.
I met another girl called Merhawit and her mum. Merhawit’s mum is sick, and needs monthly medication to keep her going. But there’s a catch. Most months, Merhawit’s mum has to choose between either paying the rent for their one roomed home or buying her medication because she couldn’t afford both. It was so heart-wrenching to find out about the terrible decisions Merhwit’s mum has to make.
But here’s the exciting news. During the two weeks, I also saw health clinics that World Vision helps to run.
I saw water pumps and wells being installed so that kids could drink clean water instead of getting sick from dirty water. I saw farmers learning how to grow more diverse crops so that they could eat food with more nutrients and vitamins in them. I saw school kids learning about hygiene so that they could stay as healthy as possible. I saw a place of hope.
So when I do the 40 Hour Famine this weekend, I do it knowing that my efforts are making a difference. Doing something for others might be a generous thing to do, but it is also the just thing to do. Because access to food, access to water, access to health care are human rights, and the fact that kids go without it is an injustice.
Many others all around Australia will be giving up something for just 40 hours so that people in Ethiopia can have important things for a lifetime.
Why don’t you join us?